The Qatari Forum for Authors organized a special session to celebrate the International Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, which falls on the twenty-first of May each year. The session titled “Nafaj Salam: “Neighboring Cultures” dealt with cultural diversity and the role of intellectuals in guiding societies towards perceiving and understanding diversity. The Egyptian writer and researcher Yasser Al-Gharbawi, the Chadian writer Dr. Salah Hassan, the Eritrean novelist Hashim Mahmoud, and the Sudanese writer Awatef Abdel-Latif Dirar participated in the session. and moderated by writer and novelist Mukhtar Khawaja.

Dr. Aisha Jassim Al-Kuwari, Director General of the Qatari Forum for Authors, stressed on the importance of cultural diversity, which is an essential element in overcoming the challenges facing the world, bridging rifts, narrowing gaps and easing tensions between peoples, hence the importance of the International Day for Cultural Diversity.

She said that the forum is keen to celebrate this global occasion and holds a group of events, activities and initiatives, and hosts a group of writers and thinkers from several countries to discuss cultural issues and highlight points of participation and convergence between different cultures.

Al-Kuwari stressed the importance of writing, authoring and translation in promoting and supporting cultural diversity. Therefore, the Forum encourages writers to translate and publish their works to introduce local culture and their cultures in their differences to open bridges of cultural and civilizational communication between peoples. The speakers at the session stressed the need to pay attention to diversity, enrich it, and benefit from it in the field of peacemaking.

The Writer Awatif Dirar explained that the “Nafaj” is a door or a small window for exchanging needs between neighbors, pointing out to the positive impact of the communities residing in Sudan on the cultural diversity there, emphasizing peaceful coexistence and exploring similar and different customs and traditions.

She said that the State of Qatar celebrates diversity and has a high ability to include and respect others.

For his part, writer Yasser Al-Gharabawi touched on the nature of the Egyptian personality that intertwines with its surroundings and its acceptance of cultural diversity, referring to the role of Al-Azhar Al-Sharif, which receives students from Africa and Asia, which creates a state of cultural diversity.

In turn, Dr. Salah Hassan emphasized that the Holy Qur’an considered the difference of tongues and colors among the signs of God, because it is evidence of the ability of the Creator, the Almighty, and evidence of his oneness, pointing out in his intervention to the importance of the role played by Sudanese scholars in enriching society in Chad.

He also made it clear that diversity depends on simple daily human experiences, stressing that a society that welcomes difference will grow stronger and move on the path of development, referring to the experience of Chad in this regard.

On his personal experience, the Eritrean novelist Hashim Mahmoud spoke about the overlap between Eritrea, Sudan, Ethiopia and Egypt, referring to the role of Al-Azhar in the resurrection of the religious scientific renaissance, and he also stressed the importance of respecting diversity in building social relations.

A number of attendees made interventions, as the Iraqi novelist Sundus Al-Shawi spoke about the importance of respecting diversity and good management in order to prevent conflicts.

It is worth mentioning that the International Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development was adopted in December 2002 by the United Nations General Assembly, and is celebrated globally on the twenty-first of May each year.